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Liriodendron tulipifera - Platanus occidentalis - Betula lenta / Lindera benzoin / Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Tuliptree - American Sycamore - Sweet Birch / Northern Spicebush / Broadleaf Enchanter's-nightshade Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Northern Blue Ridge Montane Alluvial Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006255
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community type occupies montane alluvial floodplains along more-or-less high-gradient streams and small rivers at the foot of the Blue Ridge in Virginia and Maryland. It appears to be confined to floodplains with relatively fertile alluvial deposits derived from metabasalt (greenstone), pyroxene-rich granites, or metasiltstone/phyllite. These habitats are typically narrow, nearly flat, and have complex, coarse, bouldery or cobbly microtopography and rocky streambeds. Soils are well-drained and moderately fertile. Most of the lower streamside terraces are probably flooded briefly at least annually. Larger floods are rare. However, periodic catastrophic floods associated with hurricanes or exceptionally large rainfall events may be very destructive to stream channels and vegetation. Many of these sites were probably cleared and/or subjected to multiple historical disturbances, including grazing and cultivation . This forest is composed primarily of mesophytic upland species with some admixture of species characteristic of alluvial and wetland habitats. Vegetation is generally species-rich and heterogeneous, with composition frequently shifting in association with microhabitat conditions and disturbance histories. The overstory typically contains many tree species. However, Liriodendron tulipifera is generally a constant codominant, while Platanus occidentalis is usually scattered and occasionally abundant. Other species that are important in some stands include Acer negundo, Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum, Betula alleghaniensis, Betula lenta, Betula nigra, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovata, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Juglans nigra, Nyssa sylvatica, Quercus alba, Quercus prinus, Quercus rubra, Tilia americana, Tsuga canadensis, Ulmus americana, and Ulmus rubra. The understory contains saplings of the overstory species, along with Asimina triloba, Carpinus caroliniana, Cornus florida, Corylus spp., Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Ostrya virginiana, and Viburnum prunifolium. The herb layer is very diverse and dominated by numerous upland mesophytic species. Wet microhabitats typically support Impatiens capensis, Carex intumescens, Carex tribuloides, Glyceria striata, Thalictrum pubescens, Viola cucullata, and few other wetland plants.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Montane floodplain forests of the Appalachians are poorly inventoried. Based on existing data, this vegetation appears to represent a relatively cohesive, if variable, association-level unit.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.3 - Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.3.Na - Eastern North American-Great Plains Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Central Hardwood Floodplain Forest
Group Silver Maple - Sugarberry - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest
Alliance Central Appalachian-Piedmont Sycamore - Green Ash - Tuliptree Floodplain Forest

This is the revised vegetation hierarchy. For more information see Classification Sources and usnvc.org.

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004691 Platanus occidentalis - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Betula alleghaniensis) / Alnus serrulata - Leucothoe fontanesiana Floodplain Forest
CEGL006473 Acer saccharum - Liriodendron tulipifera / Galium concinnum - Carex laxiculmis Forest
CEGL007880 Liquidambar styraciflua - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Platanus occidentalis) / Halesia tetraptera / Amphicarpaea bracteata Floodplain Forest
CEGL008405 Liriodendron tulipifera - Pinus strobus - (Tsuga canadensis) / Carpinus caroliniana / Amphicarpaea bracteata Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Montane - Piedmont Alluvial Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Piedmont / Mountain Alluvial Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES202.609 Central Appalachian Stream and Riparian


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3? (05Aug2004)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: There are probably hundreds of occurrences of this community along the length of the northern Blue Ridge. However, patches are relatively small and high-quality stands are uncommon.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: The type likely occurs along the foot of the northern Blue Ridge from near Roanoke, Virginia, to the north end of Catoctin Mountain, Maryland.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Possible
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Possible
Division Name: Hot Continental Regime Mountains
Province Name: Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest - Coniferous Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This forest is composed primarily of mesophytic upland species with some admixture of species characteristic of alluvial and wetland habitats. Vegetation is generally species-rich and heterogeneous, with composition frequently shifting in association with microhabitat conditions and disturbance histories. The overstory typically contains many tree species. However, Liriodendron tulipifera is generally a constant codominant, while Platanus occidentalis is usually scattered and occasionally abundant. Other species that are important in some stands include Acer negundo, Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum, Betula alleghaniensis, Betula lenta, Betula nigra, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovata, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Juglans nigra, Nyssa sylvatica, Quercus alba, Quercus prinus, Quercus rubra, Tilia americana, Tsuga canadensis, Ulmus americana, and Ulmus rubra. The understory contains saplings of the overstory species, along with Asimina triloba, Carpinus caroliniana, Cornus florida, Corylus spp., Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Ostrya virginiana, and Viburnum prunifolium. The herb layer is very diverse and dominated by numerous upland mesophytic species. Wet microhabitats typically support Impatiens capensis, Carex intumescens, Carex tribuloides, Glyceria striata, Thalictrum pubescens, Viola cucullata, and few other wetland plants.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Betula lenta G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Platanus occidentalis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Carpinus caroliniana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lindera benzoin G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Amphicarpaea bracteata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Arisaema triphyllum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Impatiens capensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Polystichum acrostichoides G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Thelypteris noveboracensis G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Toxicodendron radicans G3 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community type occupies montane alluvial floodplains along more-or-less high-gradient streams and small rivers at the foot of the Blue Ridge. It appears to be confined to floodplains with relatively fertile alluvial deposits derived from metabasalt (greenstone), pyroxene-rich granites, or metasiltstone/phyllite. These habitats are typically narrow, nearly flat, and have complex, coarse, bouldery or cobbly microtopography and rocky streambeds. Soils are well-drained and moderately fertile. Most of the lower streamside terraces are probably flooded briefly at least annually. Larger floods are rare. However, periodic catastrophic floods associated with hurricanes or exceptionally large rainfall events may be very destructive to stream channels and vegetation. Many of these sites were probably cleared and/or subjected to multiple historical disturbances, including grazing and cultivation.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The relatively fertile, low-lying habitats occupied by this association provide optimal habitats for many invasive introduced species, especially Microstegium vimineum.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 05Aug2004
Element Description Author(s): G. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 05Aug2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G. Fleming

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011a. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 11-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 34 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Lea, C. 2003. Vegetation types in the National Capital Region Parks. Draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. March 2003. 140 pp.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


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